Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Miles with Maggie

Immersed in Santa Cruz

by Steven K. Roberts Santa Cruz, California — February 11, 1990 The photo above is by Maggie Victor, from post-earthquake Santa Cruz in 1990. Titled “Where old bicycles go to die,” it was published in the Nomadness journal as a sort of graphic counterpoint to the high-tech BEHEMOTH… though the project yet had so much uncertainty…

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Call to Nomadness

This was an earnest attempt to change the fundamental nature of my adventure… I had visions of building a community of fellow wanderers. The possibilities were enchanting, and this document generated a lot of interesting correspondence. I still love this idea; even now, nothing would make me happier than to spark a technomadic flotilla of…

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The Loma Prieta Earthquake

On this date, something huge happened… shaking me to the core. It was the Loma Prieta earthquake, and I was living in Santa Cruz, working on what would become BEHEMOTH. Life was so scrambled for a while that I didn’t do a full story about it, but this was a brief snippet in the introduction…

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Naked at the Epicenter

This little snippet from my Miles with Maggie series (#52) took place two months before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that shattered our newfound Santa Cruz complacency. The foreshock impressionistically recorded here was but a teaser… yet deeply intimate somehow, coming as it did on the edge of sleep. The impact on the psyche was…

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The Midnight Attack

by Steven K. Roberts Milpitas, California — July 20, 1989 Eureka, California; Kinetic Sculpture Race ’89 These are the times that make all the others worthwhile. Cold, misty wind. Surf rumbling in the dark; fresh thick Humboldt beer the color of night foaming in a plastic cup. A mountain bike beneath me, warm and responsive. Along…

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Standing in the Window

by Steven K. Roberts Milpitas, California — May 6, 1989 Somebody on the net recently asked me what my days are like. The popular image, I’m sure, is of a bustling Winnebiko lab with scurrying white-coated technicians fitting glittering surface-mount subassemblies onto a frame of high-tech composites and tightly laced bundles of optical fiber and coax.…

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Nomadic Research Labs

This was published as Chapter 49 in the Miles With Maggie series on GEnie. The Winnebiko III was not yet named BEHEMOTH, and I had just settled on Nomadic Research Labs as a proper formal name for my business (which had been Computing Across America for a few years). The story below is the first…

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Dangerous Influences

an intimate glimpse of the passion driving the technomadic quest for freedom. by Steven K. Roberts Palo Alto, California December 7, 1988 Maybe it’s the Pink Floyd. Wordless memories overtake the present, obscuring it, confusing it, rendering the computer puzzling even while practiced fingers perform their familiar little dance. Perhaps madness lurks herein: time is…

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Hackers 4.0

by Steven K. Roberts Palo Alto, California — November 3, 1988 (photo above by David Warman) I have to stop now, ignoring the jazz improv in the next room the food, the naked poolsplashes of frolicking loonies, the whirling articulate sounds of synthesizers, the interactive video, the party. Yes, I’m closing my senses to the play…

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The Hobo Concerto

by Steven K. Roberts From Montana to Washington September 25, 1988 Listening to a sampler album of “soulful oboe,” I am taken in by texture… only to be cheated time and again by fade-outs, false resolutions, and a sort of musical sleight-of-hand designed to leap from intro to outro without wasting a moment in subtlety.…

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